No one knows reality entertainment better than Paris Hilton (not even the Kardashians) – after all she’s the original ‘famous because she’s famous’ poster child of the early 2000s.
Hilton’s breakout series, The Simple Life, was at the forefront of the reality television explosion, and ever since the series ended in 2007, Hilton has continued working on projects that give fans an unparalleled access into her “real” life (think Paris Hilton’s BFF, The World According To Paris, Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend, and I Want To Be A Hilton).
Most of these productions have seen Hilton play a fake version of herself – the girl who comes off as the ditzy, blonde bimbo with the super high voice, who doesn’t know what’s going on, and most importantly, doesn’t care to know.
But after amassing a personal net worth of $US300 million through a number of branding endeavours (50 stores, 19 product lines and 23 different fragrances) and supporting this through a genuine appreciation of her fans, Hilton’s strategic approach to business has made her a force to be reckoned with.
If there were any lingering doubts about Hilton’s real-life abilities, her new film, The American Meme, puts this to rest once and for all.
If anything, this movie shines a light on a seemingly lonely 38-year-old woman so eager to connect with people who genuinely care about her that she’s happy to hand out her personal phone number to fans and literally offer them a bed to sleep in if they’re in need.
She cares, not because it’s good PR, but because she wants people to care back.
Has Paris ever truly felt like anyone really cared about her? I think she’s still trying to find the answer to that question, and in doing so, comes off as honest, vulnerable, and a little bit lost.
In divulging personal information she’s never publicly disclosed before, Hilton admits she trusts her fans more than most people she knows, including lifelong friends, having grown accustomed to consistently “being f**ked over”.
With fame comes responsibility, criticism, and isolation.
Hilton details this throughout the movie, exploring the exploitation that comes with the territory when you’re one of the most famous women in the world.
Of course Hilton has been a target of the tabloids for years, but she’s also been the target of a number of serious incidents including the infamous “Bling Ring” robberies in 2008.
In The American Meme, director Bert Marcus and Paris also delve into the highs and lows of social media and life the veil on the truth behind the filters, glitz, and glamour.
While this is all fascinating to a Hilton fan, it’s her candid and honest approach to the dark side of notoriety, and the revelation that she’s lonely, that really hooked me.
We all feel incredibly alone at times, and for Hilton to admit she enjoys time with her fans more than her real friends because they don’t judge her – is lovely in a way but a very sad sentiment none the less.
I have met Hilton three times. Once at a New Years Eve party in Sydney, once at her 30th birthday party in New York, and finally, at a Playboy Mansion Halloween party in Los Angeles.
Each time I met her, I found her to be incredibly warm, inviting, and genuinely interested in having a conversation – even when her security tried to push me out of the way.
I was surprised that she was so kind and willing to give her time to fans and those eager to snap a selfie with the women who had literally invented the selfie.
I had been accustomed to thinking that celebrities like Hilton were vapid, rude, and disinterested in anyone that wasn’t “important”. I was wrong.
I’ve never been so happy to be wrong before.
I judged Hilton and regretted it instantly, so let’s not be like me.
Let’s not be surprised that she’s capable of literally anything – whether it’s premiering a documentary at world-renowned film festival, or running a booming empire.